ulnage

1) From the Latin 'ulna' meaning elbow or arm, a measure of length.

These are the usual spellings in Yorkshire records of alnage or aulnage, that is the measurement of cloth by the ell. The alnager or ulnager was an official acting on behalf of the monarch whose job it was to affix a leaden seal to a cloth, which confirmed its measurements and value: the statute in 1350 required all cloths to be measured by the King’s 'aulneger' and his deputies. The term has a longer history, for a ‘List of Ulnagers’ dates from 1327. In The History of the Huddersfield Woollen Industry are details from rolls surviving from 1469-70: ‘Robert Nevyl of Almondesbury, subsidy and ulnage of 160 cloths sealed there, 60s’, and ulnage of cloth is referred to in York in 1474-5. In 1558 Michael Wentworth bequeathed to his sons his right in thoffice or ferme of the Alnyger in the Countie of Yorke ... the profites to be towards their finding during their minorities. In 1637, a Northallerton aulnager was fined for extortion, having taken money from clothiers using a counterfeit warrant. The editor noted that he was styled ulnator in the Latin entry.

spellings alnager alnage
dates 1327 1469-1470 1474-1475 1558 1637

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